Meet Our Staff


The staff of Southern Partners Fund represents a talented core of individuals passionate about social justice and enhancing the voice of rural southern grassroots community leaders. SPF’s Executive Director, Fernando Cuevas, has vast experience in both philanthropy and community organizing.

Fernando Cuevas, Jr.

Executive Director

A founding member, Fernando has been with SPF since inception and has served as both a board and staff member. As E.D., Fernando provides leadership in furthering SPF’s vision, resource development plan, and long-range strategy for pursuing its mission. 

A highly experienced and effective negotiator, Fernando was instrumental in arbitrating for rights between farmworkers, farmers and Campbell Soup, Heinz, Vlasic, Green Bay and Mt. Olive Corporation. He was awarded the Bannerman Fellowship, a year-long paid fellowship award honoring outstanding activists.

Linda J. Norman

Senior Office Administrator & Grants Management Assistant

Linda serves as SPF’s first point of contact, supports the executive staff, assists in day-to-day operations and helps to staff and support SPF’s committees. She understands and believes in the mission of SPF. Additionally, Linda helps review, track, and maintain SPF’s records and databases while assisting in grants management. She has also worked as a resource development coordinator, assisted with program work and fundraising campaigns. She enjoys the responsibilities–having played an integral role in SPF’s operations since joining. 

Linda loves engaging in grassroots community organizing and has worked with organizers across the Southeast. Linda received a BA from Beulah Heights Bible College and is certified in QuickBooks, paralegal training and law office management.

Daphne Saethang

Chief Financial Officer

Daphne firmly believes that numbers can tell a story and has taken that approach in problem solving and achieving goals. Incorporating her love of public service, Daphne has dedicated over 10 years working in finance and operations for nonprofits.

Daphne was born in the Philippines and immigrated to Atlanta where she completed her double BA in Economics and Finance. Daphne has lived in San Francisco and San Diego and is happy to call Atlanta her home again. An avid travel and photography enthusiast, Daphne also lives for matcha ice cream!


Antoine Smith

Program Officer

Prior to joining SPF, Antoine worked as a Program Manager and Director for youth programs in Chicago’s inner city for over 10 years. Antoine also taught life skills to middle and high school students for a number of years in the after-school sector.

Antoine enjoys traveling with his family, playing basketball, practicing yoga and helping youth along their journey realize their full potential.

William Nichols

Marketing & Communications Specialist

Serving as SPF’s primary media contact, William (Will) Nichols brings nearly a decade of experience in marketing and communications. Will’s passion has always centered around building relationships and sharing stories. As such, Will acts as a grantee resource for any marketing related inquiries while ensuring all the voices of SPF’s grantee partners are heard.
Will holds a double BA in International Relations and French from Connecticut College. A semi-recent NYC transplant, Will enjoys practicing yoga and leisure drives around Atlanta’s scenic winding foothills.  

Teumbay Barnes

Program Coordinator

Teumbay (Tee) Barnes brings more than 15 years of experience in community organizing, advocacy, policy, grassroots leadership development, journalism, and higher education to her role at SPF. A passionate childcare and sexual assault prevention advocate, her philosophy is “creating change begins within.”  
Tee holds a communications BA from Alabama State University and a master’s in post-secondary education from Troy University. She is also a 2010 graduate of the National Women’s Law Center PLAN (Progressive Advocacy Leadership Network), a 2011 fellow of the Inaugural Class of Greensboro Justice Fund Fellows at the Highlander Center, and a graduate of the Leading by Example Leadership Program and she serves as an Adjunct Instructor.